March 20, 2023 | By: Johnathan White
This story is part of a collaborative project between Project: Cold Case and the University of North Florida, Applied Journalism class.
Kim Beasley needed to take a moment when she was asked how the loss of her younger sister, Princella affected her and her family.
Ladybird was Princella’s nickname growing up. Everyone knew her by that name. When Kim would ask her mother where the nickname Ladybird came from, her mother would say “She reminded me of a bird”. “My mother saw a bird in her nose or facial makeup and then put lady to it and she became Lady Bird” Kim laughed as she remembered the origin of ladybird.
Kim spoke about how creative her sister was, and how much she loved art. Princella loved journaling and creating scrapbooks. She had beautiful penmanship and loved to write, “Everything that she wrote in her journals there was a picture to go along with it, she illustrated everything”. Kim could imagine her sister as a photographer or an artist something to do with photography and journalism.
Princella was the second oldest of four children and two years younger than her sister Kim. “We looked like twins”. Kim remembers dearly family vacations, whether traveling to Cincinnati, Detroit, and even Hershey Park. Princella loved rollercoasters, the steeper the better. “She was the type of person to have her hands up she was so daring”. One specific memory Kim remembers was when she got a hold of scissors and cut Princella’s ponytail off. “Bird wasn’t very happy, and Mom wasn’t either, our mom had to create a new hair style for Bird until her hair grew back”.
Kim remembers fondly the heroism of her sister. One summer she was preparing to go back to college with all her belongings packed into a suitcase. That evening someone burglarized their van and stole Kim’s suitcase. Kim stated, “Bird reacted faster than anyone else did, it was like she was a track star, jumping over fences and chasing the burglar down and retrieved my suitcase”. Princella had a fear of the dark, but “In a pinch she was the person who you wanted to go to, she had the ability to react quickly in emergencies”.
In July 1990, Eppes was found deceased in her Atlanta apartment, shot by an unknown intruder. Authorities had no suspects, and eventually her case ran cold, leaving her family in a heartbroken limbo. “The world just got a little darker and I didn’t know how to process in the world without her, her death was a tragedy” Kim said, tears in her eyes 32 years after her death. “Here is someone so full of love and life, and at 22 her life was taken. It was traumatic.”
The family has always been a cohesive unit, and that has allowed the family to lift each other up over the past three decades. For Kim, coming together as a family for justice has been healing. It has been a struggle not having any answers, but Beasley said she would keep fighting. “She’s a daughter, a sister, an aunty and that as much as she loved other’s people loved her”.
“My belief is that everything that happens will eventually come to the light,” she said. “It has fueled me all of these years.”
Anyone with information on the murder of Princella Eppes is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-404-577-TIPS (8477). Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward.
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